Fascinating Entertainment for the Memory Impaired Community

Bright Hawk Musician for Let's Dance
Bright Hawk Musician for Let's Dance
Let’s Dance has regular visits for activities at Sunrise in Boulder, CO

Let’s Dance Activities has been visiting a variety of communities in the Denver/Boulder, CO area. We have brought our program of music and movement to independent living, assisted living and long term care faciltiies. We have also enjoyed our interactions with several memory care units and homes that are designed to serve the Alzheimer’s and dementia population. Inside a place that felt and looked a lot like a home in a surburban community deep in the Boulder area few words were exchanged between our team and the population before the program began. The participants could barely sit still to wait for the entertainment to begin and the room was generally restless. Bright Hawk entered the center of the circle and settled on her chair. After just a few words she began to play Hang PanArt and the room began to settle. Some of the most restless residents sat down as directed by various caregivers in the room. Hollis begins by greeting each person with eye contact and big smiles. Hollis has an easy and gentle approach with the residents, helping them feel welcome and encouraging their participation. Engaging with encouraging words. Helping each person feel welcomed. Hollis’ approach is very specific, using techniques taught by Teepa Snow, an Alzheimer’s expert. Soft gasps can be heard from the staff as Hollis is able to greet and touch typically combative residents. Hollis then invites the participants to join in the dancing. Supporting their hands from underneath Hollis holds each persons hands to encourage mild range of motion through fun exercise. Bright Hawk’s intuitive nature leads the music through a range of moods from calming to joyful and celebratory. Working carefully with the energies of the room and paying close attention to Hollis their connection adds to the magic.

Hollis Taylor and Bright Hawk–Let’s Dance Activities for the elderly.

By the end of this hour long program with about 25 memory care residents, all participants have interacted in some way. Every single person, including the staff, have danced in the last 5 minutes, either in their seats or on their feet holding the hands of their caregivers. Our program typically ends in a celebratory mood with most of the residents glowing, laughing, smiling or moving to the music on their own. We see it in their eyes–the tears, the love, the grief… it is really amazing to be able to facilitate the journey via the HandPan music and Hollis engaging them with movement, hugs and love… healing magic. At at recent program one woman felt the need tell how much joy we had brought to her day. She followed us to the door along with many others thanking us over and over again. Many of the residents wanted to know when we would be back. We both walk away humbled by their experiences in these communities. When we arrived the group was on edge, agitated, and restless. Many residents were standing up over and over again and being asked to sit by the staff. Many residents were sleeping and seemed to be unplugged from the reality of the room. The staff was busy doing various tasks around the house. By the end of the hour everyone was dancing in their own way. Some people were wiggling in their seats and everyone was smiling. Bright Hawk’s music brings a sense of relaxation and then ecourages joyous and happy moments which are easily supported by Hollis’ movement.

Another type of facility we visit is independent living which encompasses a variety of physical and cognitive abilities. Some of the residents are interested in asking questions about the instrument about how it was made or how one can learn to play. Many residents appreciate Hollis’ fun and youthful approach during the music.  Encouraging dance without being pushy Hollis helps them enjoy Bright Hawk’s music by moving their bodies. Our style of program has something for any resident to enjoy; the music, the movement or the information about the instrument. Hollis makes silly faces at the residents which breaks the ice and encourages a youthful playful movement along with the music. Bright Hawk leads the group with relaxing music that gently transitions to upbeat music that inspires moments of joy.

Currently Let’s Dance plans to visit Colorado Springs in April, New England and Pennsylvania in June 2015. If your facility is interested in booking us, regardless of your location, please contact us at letsdanceactivities@gmail.com


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